Home > From Fellowship, To You > From Fellowship, To You: Sunday, 9/23

From Fellowship, To You: Sunday, 9/23

Psalm 143

O Lord, hear my prayer,

listen to my cry for mercy;

in your faithfulness and righteousness

come to my relief.

Do not bring your servant into

judgment,

for no one living is righteous before

you.

The enemy pursues me,

he crushes me to the ground;

he makes me dwell in darkness

like those long dead.

So my spirit grows faint within me;

my heart within me is dismayed.

I remember the days of long ago;

I meditate on all your works

and consider what your hands have

done.

I spread out my hands to you;

my soul thirsts for you like a

parched land.

Answer me quickly, O Lord;

my spirit faints with longing.

Do not hide your face from me

or I will be like those who go down

to the pit.

Let the morning bring me word of your

unfailing love,

for I have put my trust in you.

Show me the way I should go,

for to you I lift up my soul.

Rescue me from my enemies, O Lord,

for I hide myself in you.

Teach me to do your will,

for you are my God;

may your good Spirit

lead me on level ground.

For your name’s sake, O Lord,

preserve my life;

in your righteousness, bring me out

of trouble.

In your unfailing love, silence my

enemies;

destroy all my foes,

for I am your servant.

I can’t say it better.

Sometimes I want the world. The grades, the easy-riding job where I’m raking in cash, the fame, the superiority, control, power, pride, the comfortable life, the pleasure filled life, and whatever else it has to offer. The whole thing. Every once in a while, I forget what joyful life in Christ is like, and it can be tempting to drop this life of self-sacrificial obedience – by nature ethically opposed to the flow of the culture of this world – and allow myself to be swept up in the social current, embracing the twisted parts of me I spend so much time and effort actively denying and destroying. Merely seeing the world as appeasing is a perverted idea. It promises everything and gives out nothing. One reason I love Jesus is that His words are there to clear my perception. He exhorts me to ask myself the question: “What good is it if you gain the whole world and yet lose your soul?” Oh yeah, I remember. It’s not any good at all.

“Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” – somewhere in Philippians 3

I think that, sometimes in Christianity, this is done in totally the wrong way. Instead of forgetting the past with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength (that which we love God with), we ignore it and try to move on toward the goal (the goal is, contextually – intimately knowing, being and becoming like Christ in a faith-relationship). Leaving things behind is different than ignoring things behind. What Paul is not seeing here is to not think about the past, to not deal with the past. He’s saying to move on from it. But we often have to deal with it directly in order to heal and move on from it. We often have to dig into our past and bring up the events and all the pain, shame, embarrassment, fear, insecurities, guilt, regret, and all the other emotions that go along with it, in order to allow the healing love and power of Jesus Christ to come into it and free us from it. We cannot pretend our past doesn’t affect our present and won’t affect our future. Our relationships with our parents, our significant others, friends, ideas about God, strongholds of sin, and many other experiences in our past have directly shaped us, often misshaped us, and to let Christ reshape us, we have to address these things directly. Painful things. Sometimes the path toward the future, toward obtaining all that God has for us, includes a stretch through what was behind, that all parts of ourselves – past, present, and future – may be changed by the infinite love of God in Christ Jesus.

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